Birthright participants 311.
(photo credit: Ofer Shimoni)
Over 1,200 participants in Taglit-Birthright, which offers diaspora Jews free trips to Israel, landed in Ben-Gurion International Airport on Monday – the highest number of participants to arrive in the country on a single day ever. “It’s unbelievable that I’m here,” said Alexandra Wolkoff, 19, from Binghamson, NY. “My Dad is a Holocaust survivor so this means so much to my family and me. I’m sure my Dad will be in tears knowing I’ve arrived.”
The young adults aged 18 to 26 who came from North America and Brazil
will go on a 10-day tour of the Jewish state visiting sites like Masada,
Yad Vashem and the Western Wall. Over the past year Birthright has
increased the number of people it takes on trips to Israel. It will
bring 40,000 to Israel in 2012, up from about 30,000 the year before.
In 2013 some 51,000 participants are expected to come. Birthright is
funded by the Israeli government and several Jewish philanthropists,
including casino and hotel tycoon Sheldeon Adelson, former hedge fund
manager Michael Steinhardt and oil magnate Lynn Schusterman.